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Satoshi Kon (1963-2010)

Satoshi Kon passed away in Tokyo on Tuesday. He was 46–and in the middle of directing a new film, The Dream Machine. Kon was one of a handful of internationally respected directors of anime films. He started his career as a manga artist and editor for Young Magazine, and then became art designer and key animator on Katsuhiro Otomo and Hiroyuki Kitakubo’s Roujin Z (1991). He then wrote the “Magnetic Rose” sequence in the animated anthology film, Memories (1995). Kon made his directorial debut with Perfect Blue in 1998, followed by Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Paprika (2006). His 2004 TV series Paranoia Agent played in the US on Adult Swim. All of his works as a director have been made by Studio Madhouse, where he was a staff director along with Rintaro and Yoshiaki Kawajiri.

(Thanks, Charles Solomon)

  • Shannon

    Aw man! I love Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers. Another one gone… RIP.

  • Rest in Peace Satoshi Kon, your work has been truly a great inspiration to many and will be remembered. Hope life was good to you as it will in the next.

  • s

    Rest in peace Satoshi, you were one of my favorite directors.

  • Satoshi san I truly admire your work.

    You will be always among the best animation artists of the world.

    Rest in peace.


  • WOW.
    What a bummer!
    I was lucky to see him speak at a Q&A screening of Paprika while I was in NYC in ’08.
    Here’s my blog post: & Sketch doodle:
    RIP Satoshi Kon, we lost a true original.

  • Sat

    That’s a real shocker since his work was important on many levels. He is admired outside of the anime fandom (even outside of all animation), and one could have thought he was going to be the great animated film director of Japan for decades to come.

  • Santoshi Kon is literally the brightest beacon in the sea of obscurity that is the anime industry. There has not been another true auteur maybe cept for Masaki Yuasaa of mindgame that really deserves the recognition as sumone who actually pushed the narrative of the medium forward.

    what a great great loss, not just for anime, but the animation world as a whole

  • This is horrible news!

    This is really sad, but dam what a body of great work he produced. A flawless director

  • Devastating news. One of the great unsung directors of film. I mean how many directors can match his spotless record?
    I am without words…

  • I was so upset when I heard this morning. I’ve been watching his films since highschool. This man was an amazing director, and looked forward to each of his works.
    Rest in peace, Satoshi Kon. Your work inspired a very creative generation of artists. v_v

  • Chris

    This is a shame.. Too young..

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I am shocked to find this out. Kon was a great anime director,he is right up there with the likes of Miyazaki and Otomo. His films are true examples of adult anime features. I am very sad to hear of his passing.

  • DonaldC

    Terrible, terrible, news.
    It’s always sad to hear such a talent pass away so young.

  • marmax

    Nothing but exceptional work came out of him. Sorry to see him gone, especially so young.

  • imdgman


  • McDoogle

    I got to see him at Annecy in 2006 when he showed off Paprika for the first time in Europe. It was amazing. RIP, the best ones leave far too young with their best work left undone.

  • A true inspiration rising above a sea of mundane and lame, he is talent beyond any current living animation artist I can think of. If anyone were to look at his art books/production work, there was a true working dream machine in the island of Japan. May his shadows continue to flicker on screen and in memory’s flame.

  • If you speak French, a great conference and great hommage to Satoshi Kon :


    Extremely sad news…

  • J

    That’s truly shocking news. Don’t know what else to say…

  • What a loss! To me Satoshi Kon was one of the greatest and most original directors of feature animation films. Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers are very good films, and Millennium Actress and Paprika are simply stunning. Too bad he didn’t get the chance to make more, I was so curious for his next films!

  • So shocked & saddened.

  • A great filmmaker. Kon will be remembered.

  • alan

    This is terrible news. A true inspiration. one of the greats.

  • This is rough. Kon’s library of content is short and sweet, but each and every one of his works has its own peculiar flavor or perspective.

  • Awe man! RIP He was always a huge inspiration to me :(

  • Michel Van

    here home page about his last project

  • Anime, and it’s lesser cousin animation, has suffered a serious blow by this.
    Clearly the true loss is to his family and those that knew him, but all any of us here can really contemplate, is where we will be without Kon. He was a true auteur, making the best sort of animated films and the best use of the medium – one of our times true pioneers in moving the art form forward. And he was in his prime creatively, showing no indication of slowing down or going stale.

    Without him, our medium has lost some considerable relevancy. He was amongst an elite of anime directors who more than kept their heads above the mire of genre tropes, which that industry has become – and leagues beyond the game-theory rhetoric that is US Animation.
    Within that elite, his work was the closest related to the heritage of live-action, and he did the most work to bridge animation towards that mediums far wider audience.

    Without Kon, we are all of us required to work much, much harder to see animation taken seriously. We owe it to him and to ourselves to do this.

    • Perfect. No other words need to be said.

    • childisfatheroftheman

      Wait . . . why is animation a “lesser cousin” to anime? Anime IS animation. Literally.

  • Amazing director Satoshi Kon R.I.P

  • Jmatte

    My biggest Satoshi Kon memory (and the first of his movie I saw), was at the premiere of Millenium Actress at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal. I wanted to speak to him afterwards, tell him how absolutely wonderful his vision was. He was surrounded by tons of people, and I’m sure his translator had to try and filter the barrage of comments, ha ha!

    I have seen and loved all his work since.

    He will be missed.

  • Alberto

    First Jack Horkheimer, now this. Worst week ever.

  • Chris Padilla

    Thanks to Frank Gladstone while he was at DreamWorks, I had the honor of meeting Satochi Kon when I was curating animation events for AFI Fest, where Satochi came to Hollywood to attend the premiere screening of his then latest film, “Millenium Actress,” at the Arclight in Hollywood.

    He was a gentle spirit and humble and clearly dedicated to his art with passion. Fortunately his “pushing the envelope” approach to story telling in animation lives on in the films he wrote and directed.

  • Tedzey

    The only film i saw by him was “paprika,” and THATS the movie that made me realize that there is such a thing as good anime! RIP and lets hope that Wolfgang Peterson does a good job on the live action adaption!

  • My heart aches for the decades of fantastic films that this wonderful man would have produced if he were not so unfairly denied the chance.

  • Only watched Paprika. Was pretty amazing. Doss hard, sleep well, thanks for your work

  • GhaleonQ

    He’s overrated and was highly dependent on his brilliant staff, and yet he’s still 1 of the 20 or so best Japanese animators of all-time. What a talent. He’ll be missed.

  • I didn’t know him, but now, how will his new movie get finished without him?

  • Hal

    I’m going to quote IWatchStuff on this: “It’s truly a sad loss for the world of anime. Why couldn’t it have been one of the guys who exclusively does cat-girl tentacle rape?”

  • A great loss. His last words, according to ANN:
    “With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen. Well, I’ll be leaving now.”

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I really need to see his works soon (keep telling myself to see them every time), sad to see on of Japan’s budding directors struck down at such a height in their career. Mr. Kon will be certainly missed.

  • Really really sad news. Terrible.

  • yoshitoshi

    This guy was one of the greatest.

  • Phark me. Pretty much my fave Anime director, ‘Paranoia Agent’ was brilliant, as was ‘Paprika’. Thanks for those great films, man, you won’t be forgotten.

  • del

    I can’t even begin to imagine what other marvels he might have given us…

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  • Torsten

    Truly a sad loss. For anime, for animation, and for world cinema as well. Too young. Farewell, Satoshi-san. Thank you for your great body of work. You will be remembered as one of the best.

  • childisfatheroftheman

    Terrible news. One of my favourite directors, animation or otherwise. I wonder how far along the last film he was working on is, and if it will still be released?

  • I am so crushed. I loved Satoshi Kons work. I would show Magnetic Rose in just about every class I ever taught when I worked as an animation instructor. It was one of the most PERFECT short films ever made in my opinion. A complete masterpiece.

    I even remember the first time I saw Tokyo godfathers…another masterwork. What a shame to lose him so young. He could have done so much more. This is just a huge blow to the worldwide animation community.

  • Satoshi Kon’s last letters to the world and everyone who cared about his work:

  • Wow. And I was just looking to pick up PARANOIA AGENT on DVD. How many scenes, how many ideas and bits and pieces of PAPRIKA were repackaged as INCEPTION? More than one, that’s for sure!


  • Lani

    RIP Satoshi Kon :(

    I have seen Perfect blue
    my fave :)

    & Paprika :)

    I have yet to see
    Tokyo goodfathers
    & millenimum actrecess :)

    he will be soley missed :(

  • Texas

    Rest In Peace Satoshi Kon and thank you for your amazing contributions to the animation world. Perfect Blue will forever remain in my heart as one of my favorite animations. We will all miss you so much.
    You were a hero and a inspiration for me and will continue to be so.

  • You left us at 46? Thank you for Tokyo Godfathers, Kon san.

    Enjoy your afterlife.